Mental health is a state of wellbeing in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with normal stresses of life and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. But on the other hand, mental illness is characterized by alteration in thinking, mood or behavior associated with personal distress or impaired functioning. (WHO)
Throughout history there has been three general theories about of mental illness:
1. Supernatural theory.
2. Somatogenic theory.
3. Psychogenic theory.
Supernatural theory attribute mental illness to possession by evil or demonic spirits, displeasure of gods, curses and sins.
Somatogenic theory attribute mental illness to disturbance in physical functioning resulting from either illness, genetic inheritance or brain damage or imbalance.
Psychogenic theory focus on traumatic or stressful experiences, maladaptive learned associations and cognitions or distorted self-perception.
It was Hippocrates in 400 BC, Great Greek physician who rejected supernatural explanation of mental disorders. It was he who said, “physiological abnormalities may be the root cause of mental disorders.
The beginning of psychiatry as medical specialty is dated to middle of 19th century. Before 1860 the emphasis in psychiatric institutions was on custodial care, and attendants were hired to maintain control of the patients. Often these attendants were little more than jailers or cell keepers with little training.
The 18th century is regarded as an era of reason and observation. During this period more and more asylums were setup, chains of mentally ill patients were opened, physicians got interested in working on mental illness and instead of restraints or chains, care was provided as provided to normally ill patient.
Mental illnesses are medical conditions just like heart disease or diabetes. Mental illnesses are treatable. Many people who have mental illness don’t want to talk about it. But mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a medical condition and medical conditions are treatable.
Suicide is a major mental health problem and the global suicide mortality rate amounts to 1.4% of all deaths worldwide. Most suicides are related to psychiatric diseases like with depression, substance use disorder and psychosis. The risk of suicide has been estimated to be 5-8% for several mental disorders such as depression, alcoholism and schizophrenia. About 95% of people who commit suicide have a mental illness. Suicidal ideation is present in majority of mentally ill people.
Suicidal ideation has straight forward definition – suicidal thoughts. But there are some other related signs and symptoms which include feeling helpless, feeling alone, low self esteem etc. If a person experiences such thoughts or symptoms, instead of rushing his adrenaline hither and tither at home, he/she should seek immediate medical help either from psychologist, therapist or psychiatrist. As early detection and treatment are the best ways to prevent suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. And we should remember the darkness that has engulfed their soul and mind. The darkness that has shattered their dreams and ambitions. The darkness of which they are tired. The wickedness that has shattered their self esteem and self respect.
The gloomy faces that are looking for a ray of hope to shin need open communication, observation, positive mindset, caring nature.
Why you start cursing yourself? You encounter a single problem in life, and you start cursing yourself. You fail once and all the achievements of yours mean zero to you. You did not get a job, you start feeling worthless. You did not get admission and you start feeling helpless. Your business collapsed and you found yourself in darkness. Your loved one left you and you thought this is end to all the world. I have a problem so am going to end my life. Wait dear, you have a problem and you want to commit suicide. What if this problem turned a blessing for you! We have seen billionaires who in the first attempt failed but their steel kept them going. Not all billionaire’s are born with silver spoon in their mouth. It all starts with a dream, a vision. Let me give you one example of a billionaire of China Jack Ma, who is founder of E-commerce giant Ali baba, and is a stakeholder at Alipay. He is now officially the richest man in China with an estimated net worth of $25 billion. But other side of his story is that in his early childhood, Jack Ma failed in his primary school examinations, not once, but twice. He failed thrice during his middle school exams. When applying to universities after his high school, Jack failed the entrance exams thrice, before finally joining Hangzhou Normal University. He even applied and wrote to Harvard University ten times about being admitted – and got rejected each time. This was only during his education!
During and after his Bachelor’s degree Jack tried and failed to get a job at a multitude of places. After spending three years to get into a University, Jack failed to land a job after applying to them 30 times! He recollects in his interview, “When KFC came to China, 24 people went for the job. Twenty-three people were accepted. I was the only guy who wasn’t.” He also was one of the 5 applicants to a job in police force and was the only one getting rejected after being told, “No, you’re no good.”
Dear, if jack Ma would have decided to do suicide after failure, you would have never seen him in the list of billionaires.
History is flooded with failure stories but instead of harming their lives, they tried again and again, and finally landed in the world of success. your story, your problem may look different from others to you. But believe me all the smiling faces around you are bearing much more and severe problems of their lives. But the difference between you and people around you is only the steel will to master problems into opportunities.
Dr Abid Naik works as Assistant Professor and Bhat Basit Nazir is a student at south campus, University of Kashmir.